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Best Budget Line Series from Major Company? Worst?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Green Knight, Mar 18, 2023 at 8:01 AM.

  1. Green Knight

    Green Knight Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2016
    I'm fascinated by scenarios like EBMM/Sterling, Fender/Squier, USA/Tribute, and so on.

    Which budget version of an expensive American bass compares best to the original? Which one feels like a toy? Are there any examples where the advantage of buying American is negligible? Others where that advantage is profound? I don't think I've owned a budget version of an expensive bass, as my cheapies have tended to be old beat-up Japanese ones I get off ebay.

    I got a great budget bass the other day so am not looking. My interest is more academic.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  2. A friend of mind bought a Sterling by Musicman Stingray new for 500 Can$. I'm amazed at the quality.

    I recently purchased an MTD Kingston Super 4. Fantastic instrument. MTD offers an upgrade package (electronics and hardware) but I'm not sure it would be worth it.

    Squier Classic Vibe is another excellent choice. I think you reach the law of diminishing returns fairly soon on a Fender style instrument.
    DirtDog, RattleSnack, Poobini and 6 others like this.
  3. I forgot to mention the PRS SE guitar line which are made in China. Very high quality.
    Phlipper, DirtDog, GregC and 6 others like this.
  4. If you go off of what people pay for used examples, I think this is the winner. The original MIC Classic Vibe series basses regularly sell for significantly more than they cost new. A Fiesta Red 60s P recently popped up on FB marketplace near me for $20 under new street price and was gone before I had a chance to ask when I could come get it. This is also the case for some of the higher end Sterling Rays.
    G&L Tributes also tend to be pretty great but trend toward the heavy side which makes them a no-go for some folks.
  5. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    I have a Warwick Rockbass Corvette that is very good quality.

    The Rockbass line has suffered from the easy availability of cheap, used, real Warwicks but they are still good instruments.

    Squier Classic Vibe and Vintage Modified series can be excellent for the money if you get a good one.
  6. devnulljp

    devnulljp Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2009
    BC, Canada
    Admin on the D*A*M Forum
    Squire CV line is good, esp for the money. Haven't tried any of the VMs.
    DJ Bebop and Green Knight like this.
  7. CrustyOldMan


    Aug 31, 2019
    Actually PRS factory is in Indonesia. They have their own factory built inside the grounds of the cort factory(pretty sure it’s cort) so they have more control of quality control. If I was looking for a new guitar I would look to PRS but I admit their basses are a little lack luster.
  8. semiprohooker

    semiprohooker Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2008
    Houston, TX
    Skylines are great "budget" Laklands typically. But they're not exactly a budget bass.

    Keeping budget to mean budget-friendly I would lean to G&L Tributes and Squier Classic Vibes.
    DWBass, MaxSpinrun, Bo-Weevil and 3 others like this.
  9. Fender's Indonesian factory is putting their Mexican factory to shame these days. I compared a 500 dollar Squier 40th Anniversary P bass to some MIM fenders the other day, and the Squier was better in terms of fit an finish and feel of the neck than any sub 1K MIM i could find there. And cost 500 new.

    Honestly it was so nice, i thought the finish on the neck felt as good as my American Professional II jazz, which is sort of depressing to type. The neck absolutely felt more premium than my MIM passive PJ special did out of the factory.

    Also, a strong majority of sub 1K MIM fenders ive tried in the last few years has sharp fret ends out of the factory. I have no idea why they are tolerating this when the competition has all figured that out, including their Squier line.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2023 at 11:28 AM
  10. friskinator

    friskinator Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Agreed. I’ve owned P basses that ranged from Squier CV to US made Laklands, and in my experience, the returns definitely start diminishing once you get around the $1000 price point. Just my opinion, of course.
    Obese Chess, reno88 and nonohmic like this.
  11. nonohmic


    Dec 13, 2005
    ABQ, NM.
    Really intrigued by the new 32" kingston series. If they made a matte black one I'd be sold. Might pick one up anyways.
    Crispus likes this.
  12. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty It is not easy to do simple things correctly Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    Relative to the price of Lakland's American products, the Skylines are a pretty good deal.
  13. bigdaddybass12


    Feb 26, 2021
    I have a Sterling Ray4 I bought to use at this rough-open mic I used to play at to leave my nicer bass at home. Now it is all I play. Every gig for 3+ years. I did the suggested adjustments, Ernie ball slinky’s, sounds good. The indo made basses are made side by side, different brands & prices. Now days there is not much difference between a $300 bass and a $1000 bass other than the finish.
  14. My PRS SE says built by Cor-Tek, China. Is there more than one factory?
    semiprohooker and marchone like this.
  15. Green Knight

    Green Knight Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2016
    The Fallout basses seem nearly identical to me, but I haven't played either. The weight of the Asian ones IS higher, I recall from window shopping, but PERSONALLY I wouldn't pay double or triple over a mere 1.5, or even two, pounds.
    It's interesting how globalization has led us to speak as much in terms of quality factories as we do quality brands, models, and years.
    Malak the Mad likes this.
  16. Peavey Cirrus BXP.

    A friend was coming to visit and on her drive to Scotland made a detour to grab a Cirrus BXP 'darkwood'. At the time Gillian owned 5 US Cirrus basses while I owned 6, suffice to say we knew the US Cirrus models well.

    Said Cirrus 'darkwood' was put through it's paces by both of us over the weekend.

    It looked like a US Cirrus, played like one, sounded like one and felt like one.

    Holy Smokes , she got one heck of a bass for £199 used.
  17. Green Knight

    Green Knight Supporting Member

    Oct 18, 2016
    What are labour conditions like in Indonesia compared to, say, Korea? I've liked every Korean bass I've played.
    Artman likes this.
  18. marchone

    marchone Since 1951 Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2009
    PRS SE (Student Edition) East Java Indonesia and Dalian China guitars are manufactured by Cor-Tek Musical Instrument Company. The Korean guitars are manufactured by the World Musical Instrument Company. These factories are production facilities for a wide range of marques. The USA-made guitars are made in Paul Reed Smith’s factory in Stevensville, Maryland.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2023 at 12:38 PM
    Artman likes this.
  19. jastraw


    Dec 19, 2016
    I own a G&L L2000 Tribute made in 2003 in Korea. I stumbled onto it. Got it for a song. To me, it feels, sounds and looks every bit as good as USA ones. I played over a dozen USA. Lightweight IMO at 8.2 lbs. Forever bass fo sho.

    Dunno if this qualifies. I also have Squier Paranormal 54 Jazz. China. Excellent build quality at the cost.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2023 at 12:34 PM
  20. mmbongo

    mmbongo I have too many basses. Supporting Member

    Indonesia actually :)